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The Nature of Intellectual Styles: Challenges, Milestones and Research Agenda

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Abstract Intellectual styles are people’s preferred ways of using their abilities. Throughout its history of nearly eight decades, the field of intellectual styles has struggled with its identity in the face of several major challenges. These challenges have led many to question the need for a distinctive area of research on styles, inhibited the advancement of the field, and made practitioners, including educational and occupational psychologists as well as classroom teachers and supervisors in the business world, hesitant about applying the concept of styles in their work. In this talk, I shall discuss these challenges and the key milestones that have contributed towards meeting some of the challenges. At the same time, I shall discuss how my own research program is situated within the larger context of the tremendous progress that has been made in the field within the last couple of decades. Finally, I shall introduce my current work and share my thoughts concerning my future research agenda.

Profile Li-fang Zhang is Professor of Psychology and Education in the Faculty of Education at The University of Hong Kong, where she served as Associate Dean (Research Higher Degrees) from 2007 to 2010 and is currently serving as the Head of the Division of Learning, Development, and Diversity. Professor Zhang is the author of over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and books. Her most recent book is entitled “The Malleability of Intellectual Styles” (Zhang, 2013; Cambridge University Press). Apart from publishing on intellectual styles, she has also published works in such diverse research areas as creativity, giftedness, personality, student development, teacher education, higher education, multicultural education, and the academic profession. She is Associate Editor of Educational Psychology and serves on the editorial boards of Educational Psychology Review, Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology, and PsyCh Journal.

This talk is part of the Psychology & Education series.

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